Absolute at Large

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Overview

"In this satirical classic, a brilliant scientist invents the Karburator, a reactor that can create abundant and practically free energy. However, the Karburator's superefficient energy production also yields a powerful by-product. The machine works by completely annihilating matter and in so doing releases the Absolute, the spiritual essence held within all matter, into the world. Infected by the heady, pure Absolute, the world's population becomes consumed with religious and national fervor, the effects of which ultimately cause a devastating
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1974 Hardcover Very Good/No Jacket 0-88355-104-7 Very Good, no dj, ex-library.

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The Absolute at Large

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Overview

"In this satirical classic, a brilliant scientist invents the Karburator, a reactor that can create abundant and practically free energy. However, the Karburator's superefficient energy production also yields a powerful by-product. The machine works by completely annihilating matter and in so doing releases the Absolute, the spiritual essence held within all matter, into the world. Infected by the heady, pure Absolute, the world's population becomes consumed with religious and national fervor, the effects of which ultimately cause a devastating global war." Set in the mid-twentieth century, The Absolute at Large questions the ethics and rampant spread of power, mass production, and atomic weapons that Karel Capek saw in the technological and political revolutions occurring around him. Stephen Baxter provides an introduction for this Bison Books edition.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Released in 1922 and 1923, respectively, these sf novels both feature plots concerning worlds within worlds. Capek offers the tale of a machine capable of generating limitless energy that also releases the unknown spiritual essence locked inside physical matter, with cataclysmic results. Cummings introduces a scientist who finds a woman living inside an atom. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Review of Contemporary Fiction

"Capek's skewering of human greed and faith is all the more impressive given that the novel was originally published in 1922."—Pedro Ponce, Review of Contemporary Fiction

— Pedro Ponce

Village Voice

"The Absolute at Large goes beyond the religious fervor of Nazism, foreshadowing the collectivization of Communism and the emergence of a free market too wide for any known West."—Village Voice
News Review

"A satirical science fiction classic. . . . Though Capek wrote The Absolute at Large more than 80 years ago, it absolutely retains its wit and relevance today."—Donna McCrohan Rosenthal, News Review

— Donna McCrohan Rosenthal

NPR's All Things Considered

"Capek's dialog is fantastic, his characters richly drawn. But his vision of a world transcendently captivated by an apparent higher calling and then hoodwinked into war for nine years over a source of fuel is so prescient, it makes the novel seem like it was written today."—Cara Hoffman, NPR's All Things Considered

— Cara Hoffman

NPR's All Things Considered - Cara Hoffman

"Capek's dialog is fantastic, his characters richly drawn. But his vision of a world transcendently captivated by an apparent higher calling and then hoodwinked into war for nine years over a source of fuel is so prescient, it makes the novel seem like it was written today."—Cara Hoffman, NPR's All Things Considered
Review of Contemporary Fiction - Pedro Ponce

"Capek's skewering of human greed and faith is all the more impressive given that the novel was originally published in 1922."—Pedro Ponce, Review of Contemporary Fiction
News Review - Donna McCrohan Rosenthal

"A satirical science fiction classic. . . . Though Capek wrote The Absolute at Large more than 80 years ago, it absolutely retains its wit and relevance today."—Donna McCrohan Rosenthal, News Review
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Product Details

Meet the Author


Karel Capek (1890–1938) was an acclaimed Czech author of novels, plays, essays, political writings, and short stories. His works include R.U.R., the famous play in which Capek coined the word “robot.” Stephen Baxter is the author of several science-fiction works, including the Philip K. Dick Award–winning Vacuum Diagrams, and the coauthor, along with Arthur C. Clarke, of The Light of Other Days.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    Like "World War Z" for God

    I know this far predates Max Brooks's "World War Z", but this is a similar concept (to the book, not the movie), where god becomes a physical manifestation [The Absolute] and the world falls apart (though it is mostly focused in central Europe).

    It's an interesting and philosophical book and fairly satirical regarding religion (in a way that's still relevant in the 21st century) and I found it entertaining, though not engrossing.

    Like World War Z, there's really not much in the way of character development, just a lot of faux-historical situational descriptions, which is why I didn't give it a higher rating.

    If you like docu-drama, philosophy or theology [provided you are not too serious about any one religion] or atheism and characters aren't too important to you, then you might really enjoy this.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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